Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June, many questions have emerged about what the ruling may mean for same-sex couples.
There's one question, though, that would seem easy to answer: How many legal same-sex marriages are there in the U.S.?
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It turns out the answer is actually very complicated — so complicated that even experts such as Bob Witeck, president and founder of Witeck Communications, a marketing firm specializing in gay and lesbian consumers, are stumped.
It would not be an exaggeration to call the recently completed Supreme Court term a lollapalooza. Day-by-day on the last week of the court term, the justices handed down one legal thunderbolt after another: same-sex marriage, voting rights, affirmative action. The end-of-term crush of opinions made so many headlines that other important decisions got little public notice.
At gay pride events throughout the country last weekend, marchers celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Now, the rainbow flags are giving way to calculators and sharp pencils, as gay and lesbian couples start to grapple with the practical impact of what the ruling means for them.
President Obama has directed Cabinet members to implement the ruling "swiftly and smoothly" by extending federal recognition to same-sex marriages for the first time. But that will be easier for some federal agencies than others.
Supporters of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages lost another argument Sunday when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy turned down their request to at least temporarily bar such marriages in the state.
The Associated Press and Reuters report that Kennedy denied the petition "with no additional comment."